Countdown to The Draft
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By: T.J. Zuppe
Here is a running log of the latest rumors and whispers involving the Cleveland Indians during baseball's winter meetings... (The newest stories will appear first with the time of the update.)
- (9:10am) The Indians are still very much in on OF Nick Swisher. They are still a primary suitor for his services according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The Mariners are also listed as a club still in on Swisher. The Giants are likely out, as are the Red Sox and Orioles. Things should get interesting as Seattle chases OF Josh Hamilton. If they land him (big IF) - or are distracted as they attempt to - that may just clear a path for the Indians to make a serious play at Swisher (depending what happens with Texas). He would be a far better investment than OF Shane Victorino - a free-agent the Tribe pursued before he signed with Boston. Another player the Indians have been tied to - INF Kevin Youkilis - reportedly has a deal on the table from the Yankees. Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reported the offer is a one-year contract worth $12 million. If the Tribe is willing to offer a multi-year deal or comparable money, Youkilis may choose Cleveland because of the Francona factor but the Wahoos may be smarter to turn their attentions towards right-handed power bat INF Mark Reynolds if a bidding war breaks out for Youkilis.
- (8:50am) Thursday marks the final day of the winter meetings. We will start with an update on the reported blockbuster possibly involving the Indians and SS Asdrubal Cabrera. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports the apparent four-team deal continues to be held up along the way with several clubs being shuffled in as the fourth team in the trade. Fox Sports also reports the Tribe and Diamondbacks did not discuss much on Wednesday leading some to believe the Featherheads are working on a seperate deal for Cabrera. In reality? A lot of posturing taking place between all teams involved right now. Even if the mega deal does not take place - and many feel it will not - there seems to be too much common ground between the Diamondbacks and Indians for it not to work out. Arizona needs a shortstop and Cleveland needs young pitching. Uh, hello?!
- (7:00pm) This may be the final update of the day because things are just getting silly to this point - but hey, that has never stopped us in the past, right? ESPN Cleveland heard via a source that the team has indeed started looking into SS Stephen Drew and SS Dee Gordon as potential replacements for Asdrubal Cabrera if he is dealt. (Yea, I asked the same thing at this point - what about Mike Aviles?) Tribe interest in Drew was first reported by Jon Heyman of CBS Sports and interest in Gordon was first reported by Jon Morosi of Fox Sports earlier in the day. Scott Miller of CBS Sports reported earlier that Gordon was garnering a lot interest from around the league but the Dodgers were not looking to deal him. One scout told ESPN Cleveland they believe it would be smart for the Tribe to attempt to pry Gordon away from Los Angeles but explained he is a "butcher" in the field (One glance at his stats will confirm that). So, there is that... Bottom line: if they have a pulse, the Tribe has checked in on them at this point.
- (6:55pm) Former Indians third-baseman Jack Hannahan is reportedly getting looks from the Yankees, Twins and Reds. Any remote possibility of him returning to the Tribe likely went out the window when other clubs came calling on possible major league deals. With Lonnie Chisenhall ready to take over 3B full-time in 2013, Hannahan was just victim to a numbers game and could greatly help some contending team in a part-time / utility role. His outstanding glove and left-handed bat may be a great fit for New York.
- (4:38pm) The Fox Sports duo of Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi reported the Indians are one of five teams still interested in OF Nick Swisher. The other four include the Red Sox, Giants, Orioles and Mariners. However, with Seattle finalizing their deal for Bay and Baltimore coming to terms with McLouth, the market may be shrinking a bit. Reports out of Boston had indicated the Red Sox would not consider Swisher an option unless they found a trade partner for Jacoby Ellsbury. Jim Bowden of ESPN and Sirius XM added the Phillies as a possible suitor.
- (4:15pm) The Indians have met with the agent for infielder Mark Reynolds according to Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer. ESPN Cleveland had confirmed the Tribe was one club with serious interest infielder in the right-handed slugger early on Wednesday via a source. Cleveland is targeting Reynolds with the idea of him being an option at first-base. Hoynes also reported that Indians manger Terry Francona personally called OF Nick Swisher to pitch the Tribe to him.
- (2:40pm) Andy Martino of the New York Daily News is reporting the Mariners have come to terms on a one-year deal with free-agent OF Jason Bay pending a physical. Both Seattle and Cleveland had been chasing Bay over the last two days and it appears the M's have come away with his services on a major league deal. Bay lives in Seattle during the off-season and may have been a determining factor.
- (12:40pm) The Indians are one of the clubs in on OF Nick Swisher according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com. It appears after losing out on Shane Victorino, the Tribe has turned their attentions towards Swisher - who will probably look for something in the ballpark of what it took for Boston to land Victorino. Be prepared, we are officially into "silly season" of the winter meetings as players and teams look for leverage against each other - and plenty of rumors are leaked with agendas in mind.
- (12:00pm) Alex Speier of WEEI.com is reporting that 1B/3B Kevin Youkilis has multi-year offers on the table from multiple teams. ESPN Cleveland confirmed via a source that the agent for Youkilis met with the Indians yesterday. It was also reported that his agent met with the Yankees on Tuesday, as well. The Tribe has not been confirmed as one of the clubs that has offered Youkilis a contract but it is a possibility. Both the Yankees and Phillies may be possibilities also.
- (11:49am) The USA Today (Bob Nightengale) and CBS Sports (Scott Miller) are both reporting that talks have reopened between the four teams previously discussed in a blockbuster trade involving SS Asdrubal Cabrera. The clubs involved include the Tribe, Rangers, Rays and Diamondbacks centered around Cabrera, OF Justin Upton and RHP James Shields.
- (11:45am) A few updates rolling in: We are nearing a decision when it comes to OF Jason Bay. A small bidding war (!!) has broken out between the Mariners and Indians and reports have the Tribe in the lead for his services (but the M's were considered leaders yesterday, so all bets are off.) Jordan Bastian of MLB.com tweeted that Cleveland has offered Bay a one-year major league deal.
- (8:45am) Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com reported there is a framework being built for a trade between Arizona and Cleveland that would send Cabrera to the D-Backs and young 21-year old pitcher Trevor Bauer to the Tribe. There is certainly enough smoke surrounding Cabrera's name that leads me to believe he will not be a member of the Indians for much longer.
- (8:40am) A winter meeting session without a possible major blockbuster on the table? Does not seem possible. And it appears we have our candidate for this year's meetings. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported there is a big time trade brewing between potentially four teams, the D-Backs, Indians, Rangers and Rays that would involve big-time players, including OF Justin Upton, RHP James Shields and SS Asdrubal Cabrera. In one proposed deal, Texas would land Upton, Arizona would acquire Cabrera and the Tribe would get younger talent from the Rangers, possibly including infielder Mike Olt. How likely would a trade of this magnitude happen? Rosenthal added "it cannot be said that any trade is likely."
- (4:37am) ESPN Cleveland can confirm via a source that the Indians met with the agent for 1B/3B Kevin Youkilis on Tuesday. That meeting was first reported by Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The Tribe is targeting Youkilis to play first-base, while other clubs have checked in on the possibility of him playing third.
- (4:35am) The Indians are one of several teams with interest in 1B/3B Mark Reynolds, recently non-tendered by the Baltimore Orioles, ESPN Cleveland confirmed via a source. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports originally reported that the Tribe was part of the market for Reynolds. At best guess, Reynolds appears to be a back-up plan to Youkilis. Cleveland is targeting Reynolds to play first.
- Fox Sports reports the Indians were one of three teams to show active interest in Arizona OF Justin Upton on Tuesday. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reported the Tribe was one of three clubs (Mariners and Braves being the other two) who were collecting background information on Upton to gauge if he would be a good fit. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported teams also love Arizona's two young arms, Trevor Bauer and Tyler Skaggs. Rosenthal added that he believes the Indians have targeted Skaggs in talks centered around Asdrubal Cabrera.
- The Red Sox have landed OF Shane Victorino on a three-year deal worth $39 million. Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported the Tribe offered Victorino 4-years at $44 million. Bottom line: the free-agent outfielder did pretty well for himself considering many believe his skills are in decline and he is coming off of a down year. I believe the Indians got bailed out by Boston on what could have become a poor decision.
- Both MLB.com and the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported the Indians are still in on OF Jason Bay. It was previously reported Bay was nearing a deal with the Mariners. Though not a done deal, Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times reported that the Mariners are still closing in on a major league deal for Bay.
- The Boston Red Sox have jumped out into the lead for Shane Victorino's services. According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Red Sox are offering Victorino 3-years at $38 million. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports listed the offer in the ballpark of 3-years at $37.5 million. We are nearing a conclusion to this on-going saga.
- Three teams are now in the lead for Shane Victorino, including the Indians according to CBS Sports and Jon Heyman.
- OF Jason Bay - a man linked to the Indians several times this off-season - is close to signing with the Seattle Mariners Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports.
- Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com tweeted the Indians have emerged as a "prime suitor" for OF Shane Victorino. Crasnick reports that new manager Terry Francona reached out to Victorino personally earlier in the off-season. Earlier this off-season, I said we would not know the impact a well-respected Francona could have on the free-agent market until it started to play itself out. For the first time in a long time, Cleveland has a skipper players genuinely seek out playing for. However, the bottom line in most cases is just that; the bottom line. The Red Sox, Cubs and Yankees have all checked in on Victorino according to Crasnick. Yesterday, ESPN Cleveland confirmed previous reports that the Tribe was one of several teams with continued serious interest in Victorino.
- The Mets have pursued Indians relief pitcher Vinnie Pestano during the winter meetings according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. There were rumors of a proposed deal that involved Pestano during the 2012 season but there has been no official indication that the Indians are looking to move him at this time. His asking price is undoubtedly high and the Indians would be looking for something pretty significant to move him, in my opinion.
- Buster Olney of ESPN.com writes in his morning blog that free-agent outfielder Jason Bay may pick his next team soon and continues to believe a reunion with Terry Francona in Cleveland "makes sense." Olney adds that the Tribe was interested in free-agent outfielder Shane Victorino even before the off-season began and continues to be aggressive in talks him.
- Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer reported that the Indians are asking for four "prospects" in a deal for Asdrubal Cabrera. Apparently, the Tribe came close to trading Cabrera for a current major league starting pitcher and two additional prospects. However, according to Hoynes, the deal fell apart when the Indians asked for an additional younger player.
- A source confirmed to ESPN Cleveland that the Indians have remained in contact with free-agent infielder Kevin Youkilis. Youkilis has informed clubs that he is willing to play both first and third for whatever team inks him. That same source believed Cleveland is the most likely landing spot for Youkilis.
- ESPN Cleveland also confirmed Indians reported serious interest in free-agent outfielder Shane Victorino via a source. It is believed as many as seven clubs have expressed some sort of interest in Victorino who is looking for something in the vicinity of the deal Angel Pagan received from the Giants. (4 years, $40 mil)
- MLB.com's Jordan Bastian caught up with GM Chris Antonetti. Here is a highlight from Bastian's blog: Antonetti isn’t cornering himself in terms of filling the DH role. He likes flexibility in the role, but is open to a full-time DH if it makes sense. He also would not rule out re-signing DH Travis Hafner: “Potentially. We haven’t lost sight of that.”
- Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com reported that former Indians outfielder Grady Sizemore will be unable to start the 2013 season on schedule and has greatly limited the market on him. According to his agent, Sizemore had arthroscopic surgery on his right-knee in September.
- Multiple reports continue to link Tribe interest to free-agent outfielder Shane Victorino. Any level of interest is not surprising considering the team attempted to trade for Victorino during the 2012 season.
- Jon Heyman of CBS Sports notes that Shane Victorino has multiple three-year offers on the table and at least one four-year offer. It is unclear if the Indians were one of the teams that offered Victorino a deal officially.
- MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez reported that former Indians pitcher Roberto Hernandez has drawn interest from at least five teams including the Indians. Hernandez is seeking a one-year deal according to Sanchez.
- The Indians were listed as one of five teams with "serious interest" in free-agent outfielder Scott Hairston. The other four teams are believed to be the Cardinals, Tigers, Yankees and Giants.
- The Red Sox are one of the six teams reportedly on the no-trade list of shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera but that would not stop Cabrera from being open to a deal to Boston according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
- Buster Olney of ESPN.com reported that before the Rays signed first-baseman James Loney, the Indians had serious interest in the free-agent.
- The price for Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera is steep in terms of good young stud starting pitching according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch. The Cardinals were at one time a team believed to have interest in Cabrera.
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